July 26th, 1999
I drove over to Shattuck Avenue to see The Blair Witch
Project last night. Although a movie meant sitting in a seat
for two hours, something I'd been doing the entire weekend, I needed
to get out of the house and the theater was playing the movie on
both of its screens. Some of the journalers have talked about
trouble sleeping after seeing this movie so I figure that's a pretty
good recommendation, seconded, as it happens, by the two long lines I
discovered at the theater. I drove by and drove on. Lines I don't need
(insert standing in line rant from recent journal). I guess I'll wait
for the rental.
I'm thinking maybe I should run both cameras with black and white
film, axe the color and start going further afield on one of these weekends
after I move into the new apartment. Just drive a reasonable
distance to somewhere interesting, check into a motel and cruise the area
with the cameras. At least it will be new territory and, if it doesn't quite
juice my interest, it will at least get me out of the house, something that
seems more and more difficult. I can see the attraction of the
photo journalist's life spent on the road going from assignment to assignment.
Everything is new and on deadline so you look, you shoot, you analyze later
when you've got the time except you never have the time because you're under
a new sun in a new city with new people who are fighting it out with the riot
police, throwing bottles and telling you to take their picture before you miss
deadline for the evening edition. No going to the same district in the same
city month after month scratching your head and trying to come up with a novel
perspective on a scene you've shot a hundred times. I'm hoping for some
interesting places in my new neighborhood as it's close to the downtown
and a hundred different projects within walking distance.
This idea of picking a project to shoot is still on my mind and I've been
thinking about one or two possibilities. I've also been thinking of putting
together a couple of single subject html pages. I found a humor piece about
cats recently, for example, and shooting some pictures I can work into the
design seems like fun. Be nice to have an objective in mind when I go on a
shoot. A newspaper photographer going out with a reporter on an interview
has to come up with something graphically interesting, something a little
more than a head shot, something with a little twist that helps tell the
story. Day after day. Makes you think. Makes you stretch. Makes you crazy.
I find I look at pictures in the newspaper from the perspective of the
photographer who had to grab my interest with something that didn't look
like every other photograph ever taken of Mr./Ms. X who is being
interviewed about their recent trip to Mendocino. Same with the cat piece.
Every now and then I shoot some pictures of Mr. Wuss and some of them turn
out, and some (most) of them don't. Still, no idea in the shooting other
than hey there's a cute pose shoot the picture get it back from the shop
put it in the files along with the rest of them because I'm not going to
put any more fucking cat pictures up on my journal. It's embarrassing.
The banner photograph was taken at the family party in Seattle. The two
croppings of the Telegraph Avenue photograph should probably have both
been left on the floor, but it's an example of a beginning. You look at
it, you crop it a couple of different ways and then you go back out and
shoot it properly maybe a million times to get something that isn't too
trite that some Time-Lifer didn't do 100 times better fifty years ago.
(I'm not really complaining. I do like these snapshots and they seem
to keep my interest.)
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